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Journey Overland’s co-founder, Tushar Agarwal, speaks to Luxurious launches about constructing India’s main highway journey firm, challenges confronted throughout the pandemic, upcoming self-drive expeditions, and extra

Began in 2012 by Guinness World File Holders Sanjay Madan & Tushar Agarwal, Adventures Overland has emerged as India’s main highway journey firm, which provides specifically curated driving expeditions all the world over. With the Covid-19 pandemic within the rearview mirror, the journey trade is witnessing a giant increase, seemingly unaffected by the looming recession fears. This consists of an enormous improve in curiosity amongst journey fanatics for overland, self-drive expeditions. We had the prospect to talk to Adventures Overland’s co-founder, Tushar Agarwal, the place we requested him in regards to the firm’s journey over the past decade, the flagship “Highway to London” self-drive expedition, the corporate’s enlargement plans, and much more . This is what he needed to say:

The idea of overland expeditions crossing worldwide borders could be very new in India. Your organization being the primary and solely of its form, are you able to share your expertise so far and the response obtained within the nation?

Adventures Overland has emerged as India’s greatest highway journey firm. Now we have up to now efficiently organized over 100 expeditions in 80 international locations with over 1000 visitors touring with us on self-driven highway journeys throughout 5 continents. Our flagship journey, ‘Highway to London, ‘ just lately culminated its fourth season.

Over time, with repeat vacationers and a constant surge in queries, we began our upward climb. Now we have just lately raised funding at a valuation of 10 million USD, and the funding will gas our enlargement as we goal 1000+ journeys globally over the following three years.

The annual progress fee on this section, particularly throughout the age group of 25 to 35, is continually rising. Many Indians go for worldwide locations and are open to experimenting with self-drive journeys by renting a car on the vacation spot of selection or by selecting an providing like ours that takes care of all journey nuances. In distinction to households making journeys to hill stations inside a variety of 500 km a decade in the past, we have now witnessed a steep improve in cross-border journeys to far-off lands. Whereas traversing the size and breadth of India stays standard, offbeat worldwide locations are getting extra curiosity from journey fanatics.

There are a number of nationwide and worldwide information set by each of you. Did they’ve a job to play in inspiring you to start out India’s first driving expedition firm?

It’s positively our personal ardour to journey and discover the world that has led us to type Adventures Overland. We set off on a world highway journey in 2012, protecting 90,000 km throughout 50 international locations and 06 continents, setting 1 Guinness World File and 15 within the Limca E book of Data. This journey was filmed and aired on the TLC channel as ‘The Nice Indian World Journey’ and is at present streaming on Discovery+.
Quickly after this journey, we determined to arrange Adventures Overland as a platform to supply discerning vacationers the choice of an all-encompassing luxurious tour bundle, which fulfilled their desires of exploring the world with out the fear of journey nuances resembling lodging, meals, language boundaries or breakdowns. Our maiden business journey to Ladakh within the Himalayas was a hit, and we’re glad to share that right now Adventures Overland is a frontrunner within the luxurious journey journey section, providing mounted and customised journey experiences, each nationwide and worldwide.

India shares borders with international locations which might be both closed to Indian residents or have been crippled by political turmoil. The pandemic dealt a large blow to the entire journey trade, as properly. How did Adventures Overland take care of these challenges?

Geopolitics influences how companies form and locations function; Visa restrictions are the largest hurdle, making it tough for inbound vacationers to enterprise from a particular vacation spot or area. Nevertheless, concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism is the one option to encourage normalcy and financial well-being. Reopening sights can acquire nationwide and worldwide media consideration and stimulate demand throughout the restoration stage of a once-suffering nation.

Since we specialise in cross-border journeys with closed borders, we needed to revisit our itineraries with out compromising the journey expertise. The permissions and visa approval processes took longer, with a number of layers of checks added. This 12 months the ‘Highway to London’ journey took a barely completely different route than the previous three journeys as a result of some border crossings being closed and began from Iran to succeed in London by a brand new route for the primary time. The highway journey began from Bandar Abbas in Iran. It traversed Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France, culminating in London. We’re delighted that the journey created so many memorable moments and the expertise of a lifetime for our vacationers.

What prompted you to recreate the legendary London to Calcutta bus service, and might you discuss just a little in regards to the challenges met whereas planning and executing such a grand overland journey? Additionally, how completely different is the expertise when in comparison with a self-drive highway journey?

London to Calcutta bus service was a motivating journey again within the Fifties when the world was restricted by expertise and web connectivity. We at Adventures Overland are all set to launch our very personal dream bus, ‘Bus to London,’ which is able to recreate that vibrant period passed by with the utmost consolation and luxurious. This would be the longest bus journey on the earth, spanning 02 continents and 18 international locations and protecting 20,000 km. After reaching London, the bus will embark on its maiden voyage again residence, taking the identical route to succeed in India.

Organizing highway journeys takes meticulous detailing to make sure vacationers get pleasure from their journey, and we hold our promise of providing carefree journey. One of many important journey challenges is managing reservations and bills in maintaining with itineraries and journey rules; Final-minute blows can have an effect on the complete group and trigger delays, including to panic and frustration. Happily, we have now super expertise and are well-connected to deal with the nuances of the highway; Every route is totally vetted, and contingency plans are at hand. For brand new vacationers, physique clocks might take time to regulate to the varied zones they traverse; It’s a short-term drawback typically accompanied by fatigue and irritability. We supply our medical and first-aid kits and have docs on name obtainable in any respect stops; we even have a listing of medical emergency go-to, simply in case.

Bus journey and self-drive highway journeys are distinctive experiences; it’s only a matter of non-public selection. Our drivers are professionally educated and normally follow the designated lane as per the region-specific guidelines. Additionally, in a bus journey, the velocity tends to be slower since traveler consolation is paramount; Fewer buses than automobiles are wanted to move the identical variety of folks on the deliberate routes. From a traveler’s viewpoint, it’s economical in comparison with self-drive excursions, and one can benefit from the journey in consolation with out tiring oneself.

Are you able to inform us just a little about your upcoming expedition excursions, together with the self-drive expeditions in Brazil and Jordan? How are they completely different than the earlier overland drives supplied by your organization?

Now we have fairly a number of journeys deliberate, the forthcoming being one to the Kingdom of Time, Jordan, one of the iconic historic cities within the Center East; it shares borders with a number of Center Jap international locations – neighbors being Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Southern Saudi Arabia, and Egypt’s Sinai, and is wealthy with archaeological, non secular and vacationer websites. Our guided, small-group self-drive journeys permit vacationers to expertise new locations whereas driving in convoys. We’re excited to deliver a superlative journey vacation spot resembling Jordan to our vacationers. They’ll benefit from the Jordan expedition with out worrying about breakdowns, language boundaries and navigating rugged terrain. Our Boundless Brazil Drive to the fifth-largest nation on the earth, which occupies virtually half of South America, will take you thru Brazil’s cosmopolitan cities, glamorous seashores, and tropical rain forests. Brazil’s wildlife on the earth’s largest tropical rainforest, well-known for its biodiversity – The Amazon Rainforest – which is crisscrossed by hundreds of rivers, shall be an expertise of a lifetime.

Yet one more thrilling expedition deliberate is to Laos, a rustic traversed by the Mekong River and recognized for its mountainous terrain, French colonial structure, hill tribe settlements and Buddhist monasteries. This shall be adopted by the expedition to Iceland, a pure marvel like none different; the magical and mysterious land of lava rocks, mesmerizing seashores, larger-than-life mountains, historic glaciers and rugged fjords – certainly a rustic of utmost contrasts and superb for vacationers in search of a vacation spot that provides a plate filled with range.

We imagine in providing distinctive journey experiences to passionate vacationers. Every expedition is curated protecting in thoughts the pure bouquet of experiences the locations supply; Every journey is an expertise in itself and therefore, completely different in its personal means. Whereas vacationers embark on this journey in a person capability, they typically find yourself befriending co-travellers, and by the top of the journey, the recollections made are unforgettable. Add to this, the joys of a self-driven convoy-style journey throughout various terrains in Land Rover Defenders or Ford Raptors makes it price whereas. Our perception in accountable journey takes care of all vital security checks and terrain vetting, guaranteeing a carefree journey expertise.

How ought to one put together himself/herself each mentally and bodily for an overland expedition that normally lasts not less than a number of weeks, particularly if the idea could be very new to the individual?

It’s important to arrange your physique and thoughts when taking cross-border journeys so long as Adventures Overland provides; Lengthy durations behind the wheel require complete focus and might be tiring however being mentally ready can assist with a secure journey. It’s straightforward to get distracted whereas traversing lovely terrains, however since every car has a bunch of 4 vacationers, the drivers can change driving wheels at any time when drained and hold one another alert. Consuming balanced meals and sleeping properly is the important thing to protecting the physique and thoughts wholesome to benefit from the length of the journey; we guarantee luxurious lodging and scrumptious meals. When driving to an unknown territory, points resembling bathroom services, meals choices, hygiene requirements, parking areas, vary anxiousness and security, to call a number of, add to the stress of looking for the bottom. However we deal with all of it and extra resembling documentation, paperwork, visas and permits to make sure that the complete focus of vacationers is on experiencing the journey. We share all particulars of the terrain, climate, and different important components so that every traveler might be well-prepared. We’re keen about customer support, and our workforce is current to assist vacationers at each step of the journey.

As an avid motorcyclist, I will personally prefer to ask if Adventures Overland has any plans to provide you with one thing for these trying to discover the world on two wheels

At present, we’re extra centered on our enlargement plans of establishing workplaces across the globe, partaking with enthusiastic vacationers, and dealing in the direction of extra custom-made choices in tandem with the demand of the hour. Charting out such prolonged routes by international locations which might be offbeat selections for vacationers is unquestionably not straightforward. Getting visas for numerous international locations with out flight tickets is yet one more problem that usually arises. Insurance coverage, car visas, explaining the rationale behind occurring a motorbike, and the logistics and planning concerned in an expedition of this magnitude shall be a distinct enviornment altogether. The planning and executing of every huge expedition we undertake take a lot understanding of the rules of the international locations we traverse, and that is an space we have now but to think about.

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